Inuvik Students to Get Free Internet

Initiative grants low-income students means to participate in distance-learning during COVID-19 health crisis

Tom Zubko, president of New North Networks, pitched the idea to connect school families without internet connections in Inuvik to the local school network. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

New North Networks and the Beaufort Delta Education Council have partnered to provide low-income students with free home internet access during the course of the pandemic.

Since stay-at-home measures were put into place on March 23rd, students in Inuvik have had to take their learning online but not all households have the means or the technology required to take part in a virtual classroom.

“This is a real concern,” says Devin Roberts, Beaufort Delta Education Council assistant superintendent. “As we do our best to adapt to the current situation, it’s vital that every student can participate no matter what the economic situation at home.”

To address this issue, the Beaufort Delta Education Council and New North Networks have entered into an arrangement to ensure that no student is left behind. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the BDEC will purchase modems for each student in need and New North Networks will provide that student’s household with a high-speed internet connection free of charge.

Tom Zubko of New North Networks sees this partnership as not only a solution to the dilemma currently facing educators but also as an example of how technology can and will support education in the future.

“The Internet has become an essential part of our daily lives - how we work, how we learn and how we stay in touch,” says Zubko. “There’s an incredible potential for these technologies to help expand access to education and, with it, opportunity.” 

“But for now,” says Zubko, “we’re just glad to help.” 

New North Networks is a locally-owned telecommunications company in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada. The company was established by Tom Zubko and has served the Beaufort Delta region since 1996. New North Networks offers digital cable television and high-speed internet plans as well as a variety of radio, cellular and satellite services.

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